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Tips for Housetraining Puppies

Housetraining ....As with most things in life, there are hard ways and there are easy ways to get things done. Rubbing a puppy's nose in a mess is an inappropriate way to housetrain. Using ample amounts of supervision and positive reinforcement is the easy way. Starting Off On the Right Track The first course of action in housetraining is to promote the desired behavior. You need to: Designate an appropriate elimination area outdoors Frequently guide your dog there to do his business Heartily praise him when he goes By occasionally giving a food reward immediately after your dog finishes, you can encourage him to eliminate in the desired area. The odor left from previous visits to that area will quickly mark it as the place for the pup to do his business. Timing Is Important! An eight-week old puppy should be taken outdoors every one to three hours. Older puppies can generally wait longer between outings. Most puppies should be taken out:

1. After waking in the morning

2. After naps

3. After meals

4. After playing or training

5. After being left alone

6. Immediately before being put to bed

Crate Training

Training a puppy to be comfortable in a crate is a popular way to provide safe confinement during housetraining. The majority of puppies will rapidly accept crate confinement when you make the introduction fun. Since it is important to associate favorable things with the area where your puppy is confined, it is a good idea to play with him there, or simply spend some time reading or watching television nearby as he relaxes with a favorite chew toy. If he is only in the area when you leave, it becomes a social isolation area that he eventually may resist entering. A good time to start crate training is at dinner time. Feed your puppy his dinner, one piece at a time, by tossing pieces of kibble into the crate for him to chase and eat. This way, you can make a game out of training. When you pick up his toys, store them in the crate so he will enter on his own to play. You may even want to occasionally hide a biscuit in the crate as a nice surprise. You should not use the crate for periods that exceed the length of time the pet can actually control the urge to urinate or defecate. If you are gone for long periods each day, you will need to provide a larger confinement area. You may want to consider using an exercise pen or small room. Provide an area large enough so that if your puppy has to eliminate when you are gone, he can do it in a space that is separate from his sleeping area. A 15- to 30-square foot area is adequate for most puppies. If he chooses a specific place to eliminate, cover it with paper to make clean up easier.

Chewing: Puppies and Dogs Tips for Dealing with Puppy and Adult Dogs That Chew Chewing:

Puppies and dogs Chewing is a very normal behavior for puppies and dogs. They use their mouths for grasping food, gaining information about the environment, relieving boredom, and reducing tension. Chewing appears to be great fun. However, chewing could become a major problem when valued objects are damaged. Why do dogs chew? When you couple strong jaws with the curiosity and high energy of an exploring puppy, the result is an incredible chewing machine! The speed at which puppies can wreak havoc in a house, and the extent of damage they can do, can really take you by surprise. There are a variety of reasons why a puppy might chew. Noises behind a wall, such as a high pitched heater motor or the scurrying footsteps of a mouse, might trigger investigative chewing. A delay in feeding time may send a hungry dog off chewing into cabinets as he searches for food. Food spilled on a piece of furniture can cause a puppy to tear into it with his teeth in hopes of finding something tasty to eat. Dogs make good pets because they have a very social nature and plenty of energy to share in activities with us. In return, we need to provide enough exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction to avoid destructive behavior.

Understanding your puppy's world

Puppies usually pass time or break the boredom by using their mouths, which may result in destructive behavior. Household destruction occurs because puppies are simply entertaining themselves. Sometimes we unwittingly contribute to a puppy's problem by improper training. Puppies are unable to determine the difference between old shoes and new shoes, or between stuffed toys and the corner of a stuffed couch. Likewise, tug-of-war games can set the puppy up to fail. A puppy or dog entertained by tearing a towel is tempted to attack curtains fluttering in a breeze.

What about a second pet? It is usually not the best course of action to get a second pet to help correct a chewing problem. In some cases, a second pet may serve to distrat the destructive pet away from chewing. But it is just as likely that the problems could double, especially if the second pet is another puppy. A little guidance The first step in correcting a chewing problem is to guide your puppy's chewing toward acceptable chew toys. Choose a variety of good quality, safe products. When your puppy shows you what he likes, buy several more of the same type. Hollow rubber toys work well since biscuits can be wedged inside for your puppy to pry out. This gives him a job to do and helps keep his focus away from your possessions. Another way of keeping your puppy focused on putting his mouth on the toys is to teach him to play fetch. Never take proper chewing for granted. Take an active roll in rewarding desirable chewing with lots of encouragement and praise. Give your pet plenty of praise every time he chews on his toys. Occasionally give a small reward, such as Iams® Puppy Formula Biscuits for Puppies, to strongly reinforce the behavior. Protecting your possessions! Until you can trust your puppy, he must be under constant supervision or confined to a safe area. During times when he is with you, he might sneak off by himself to chew. Consider using a leash to keep him within eyesight. A crate, dog run, or safe room will keep him out of trouble when he cannot be watched. As your puppy is allowed more freedom, he can be taught to avoid forbidden objects if you make them taste bad. Choose an effective, commercial, bitter- or hot-tasting spray to safeguard objects. If he has the habit of chewing specific items, such as clothing, make sure that all clothing is out of reach except one or two items that are sprayed with a bad-tasting spray. Every day, move the items to new positions around the house. In four or five days change the type of item. This teaches the dog to leave your clothing alone because he associates them with a bad taste. "Booby traps" are successful since they punish your puppy during the act and do not require your presence. A stack of empty beverage cans set up to fall over when something moves can be effective in safeguarding certain objects. Motion-activated alarms are often effective in teaching a puppy to stay off furniture or out of plants.

What not to do Corrections and reprimands are rarely effective by themselves. Under no circumstances should your puppy be spanked, slapped, kicked, or physically punished in any way. There is a risk he will become hand shy or a fear-biter. Instead, offer a verbal reprimand followed by encouragement to chew on a proper chew toy. To be most effective, the reprimand must be given during or immediately after the misbehavior, and every time it occurs. Reprimands can backfire by either teaching the dog to be sneaky about chewing, or by teaching him not to chew anything, even toys, in your presence. This information was provided by Wayne Hunthausen, DVM, Director of Animal Behavior Consultations in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

 Puppies: Socialization/Adjustment Like children, puppies need a variety of positive experiences in order to become confident, well adjusted adults. As part of their upbringing, puppies should learn to get along with other dogs, children, and other people, and to accept the many strange sights, sounds, and experiences that are part of everyday life.

Stages of Development: Puppies pass through several developmental phases. Initial "dog socialization" begins in the litter. At seven to eight weeks, puppies start to become more independent and ready to explore their environment. This is a very good age to bring your new puppy home. Around eight to ten weeks, your puppy will probably enter a fear period. During this period, you will notice that your puppy sticks close to you and is easily frightened. Avoid loud noises or surprises during this period, and keep new experiences very non-threatening.

Once the fear period passes, at around ten weeks of age, your puppy will enter the juvenile phase. He will be more inquisitive and more wide ranging in his explorations. This is a very good time to introduce new experiences! The juvenile period will last until your puppy becomes a young adult. Watch your puppy carefully, though; some pups go through a second fear period around their fourth or fifth month. When socializing your puppy, you must keep his health needs in mind. Until your dog's vaccinations are complete, he is at risk of catching Parvo, a widespread and deadly disease. You should be extremely careful not to put your puppy down in public places until his shots are complete. Consult your veterinarian for advice about what else may pose a health risk for your puppy.

Getting Along With Other Dogs: Dogs have a language of their own. Using body posture, facial expressions, and vocalization, they communicate fear, anger, aggression, submission, playfulness, and more. A puppy who grows up among other dogs will learn canine language and be able to communicate effectively. A puppy raised in isolation may misinterpret cues from other dogs, or inadvertently send signals that may anger another animal. Also, like children, puppies need to learn appropriate social behavior. When puppies play, an overly enthusiastic nip results in a yelp from another puppy. Persistent jumping on "mom" may result in a growl or snap of rebuke. In these ways, puppies learn the limits of play behavior. A good way to give your puppy these important learning experiences is through "puppy socialization classes." Look under Dog Trainers in your phone book, or ask your local dog club or veterinarian for recommendations. You may also be able to get together with other new dog owners to form a puppy play group. During socialization, puppies should be allowed free play time. Puppies should be supervised to make sure puppy play doesn't become overly aggressive, especially if there's a big size difference among the dogs. Puppy socialization with other dogs begins in the litter, and should continue (if possible) throughout the puppy and juvenile growth stages. A well socialized puppy will probably mature into a dog who can be trusted to meet and play with other dogs. Note that socialization is even more important for dog-aggressive or dominant breeds. However, if you find your puppy becoming overly aggressive or overly afraid during play sessions, you should seek help from a professional dog trainer to make sure the behavior is corrected before it becomes a problem.

Getting Along With Other Pets: For many dogs, interaction with other types of pets can be much more of a problem than dealing with other dogs. This is especially true with small animals that run away (behavior which can trigger "prey instincts" in the dog). It's best to not take a chance on allowing dogs of any breed to play with small animals such as hamsters or rabbits. Although many dogs have learned to get along with such pets, is it really worth the risk? Cats and larger pets are usually less at risk. If you have these pets in your home, the puppy should be introduced to them at an early age. Supervise the animals when they are together, and use praise or treats to reward your puppy for good behavior. (Don't forget to make the experience pleasant for the other pet as well.) Dogs of many breeds, when raised with cats or other pets, learn to accept them. However, for some breeds with strong hunting instincts, there may always be a risk. It's safest to choose your dog breed carefully if you know you will have other animals in the house.

Getting Along With People: Since dogs must live in a human world, it's important for them to deal well with people. Early, positive exposure to lots of strangers, with praise or rewards for good behavior, will help your puppy grow up to become a well-behaved dog. Invite friends to your home to meet and play with your puppy. Ask adults to crouch down and avoid sudden movements when meeting your puppy... from the pup's point of view, a human is HUGE. If you don't have young children of your own, invite friends' or neighbors' children. (Be sure to instruct children in how to handle the puppy, and always supervise play!) Puppies who are not raised around children can develop aggressive behavior toward children when they grow older. Small children, who tend to run around and make high-pitched squealing noises, can trigger prey instincts in dogs who are not used to them. Some breeds don't do well with children because of the strong prey instinct; other breeds are very good with children. If you have small children in your home, this is a very important factor to consider when choosing a dog. As soon as your puppy's shots are complete, begin taking him to public places such as parks, where he can meet lots of friendly people. Also, make a point of introducing your dog to people of different ages and races, people in uniforms, and so on; dogs may become very wary when confronted with people who seem "unusual" in any way. It's important to remember that you are teaching your puppy to be comfortable with people, and to behave himself around them. Behavior that seems cute in a puppy, such as nipping and jumping, is no longer cute when the dog is an eighty pound adult! Whatever you don't want your dog to do as an adult, he should not be allowed to do as a puppy. Teach the puppy the behavior you want, and discourage the behavior you don't want. Gently but firmly correct unwanted behavior right from the start, and you'll have a well-behaved adult dog. Your well-socialized dog can still be a good watchdog. Your dog is smart enough to distinguish between people who you welcome into your home, and people who should not be there.

Puppies: Teaching Good Manners

"A dog should be a pleasure to all and a nuisance to none," says well-known dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse. Teach your puppy the following commands in addition to basic obedience, and he will be much easier to live with. Practice these commands a few times a day in very short play-training sessions.

Give: To avoid unwanted aggression and guarding behavior later in life, train your dog to give you his prized possessions and even his food. The best way is to offer an exchange. Say "Give" and offer your dog a treat for his toy. The food offering will inspire most dogs to release the toy without struggle. Praise him heartily. Then give the toy back to him. Make it a fun game that he wins most of the time.

Get it / Leave it (Don't Touch): Dogs who know the command "Leave it" will let things alone when asked. To make learning fun, play a game with your pup. Start the exercise with the dog sitting in front of you on a leash. With a handful of treats, offer him one at a time, saying, "Get it!" After two or three "Get its", offer him a treat, as usual, but this time say, "Leave it!" Of course he is going to go for it anyway because he doesn't know any better. When the puppy tries to grab the treat, give him a tiny bop on the nose with the same hand that offered him the treat, and repeat, "Leave it". As soon as the dog leaves the treat alone, praise him, saying, "Good Leave it!", then say, "OK. Get it!" and give it to him. Repeat the sequence four or five times in a row, saying "Get it" much more often than you say "Leave it." The puppy will think this is great fun and will probably catch on very quickly, learning to leave the treat alone when you say "Leave it".

Don't Pull: Your cute little puppy may grow up to be a hundred pound powerhouse dragging you down the street if you don't train him not to pull on the leash. To prevent physical damage to the dog, avoid excessive jerking on a puppy's neck until he is at least four months old. Meanwhile, use a retractable leash, such as a Flexi-Leash(TM), so the pup can have some freedom, but meets resistance when he pulls. If he lunges, simply turn around and walk the other way. Many trainers are now using Halti(TM) Head Collars to train puppies not to pull. The Halti(TM) fits around the dog's head and attaches to the leash. With the Halti(TM), the owner diverts the dog's head gently to the side if the dog tries to pull forward. Dogs don't like to lunge in a direction they cannot see. The experience is unpleasant for the dog, but humane, involving no pain.

Off: No matter what they say, most people do not like it when a dog jumps all over them. Jumping up can even be dangerous when a dog jumps on a small child. The simplest and safest way to teach a puppy not to jump up is to back up when you see the pup coming and say "Off!" Reward and praise the puppy once all its feet are on the ground. You can also tell the dog to "Sit" so he learns something positive to do when greeting strangers. When the puppy is older, more severe measures can be used if necessary. One warning: If you allow your dog to jump all over you, he may have trouble understanding why you don't allow him to jump all over everyone else. Try to be consistent!

In Your Kennel: A dog's kennel should be his safe place, his den, his refuge. Your dog can learn to go willingly into his kennel on command. Tantalize your puppy with a treat or toy, then put it into the kennel and say "Kennel" or "Go to bed", or "In your Kennel" (choose one and be consistent). The dog will probably go inside. At first, don't close the door. Just praise the dog for going in. When he's used to going in, start closing the door, at first just for a few seconds. Give the puppy a little treat through the bars when he's inside with the door closed. Extend the time he spends inside the kennel gradually. Never let him out when he's crying as that only rewards crying. When you let the puppy out, don't make a big deal out of it. You don't want coming out to seem better than going in! Speak / Quiet: When a person yells at his dog for barking, the dog thinks the human is barking too, joining the fun.

"Quiet" is a difficult concept for dogs. The most successful strategy we've found is to train the dog to bark on command before training the dog what "Quiet" means. Show the dog a treat, make a hand signal and say "Speak". You may have to bark a bit at your dog before he gets the idea, but eventually he will probably give you a bark or two. Praise and reward immediately and with great fervor. Try again until your puppy understands this entertaining game. Once the dog knows how to bark on command, get him barking and then suddenly say "Quiet" and place your fingers to your lips. This strange action will probably stun your dog into silence. Reward and praise excitedly! Repeat several times a day for a few weeks until your dog knows it dependably. Later, when you yell "Quiet", the dog will know what you are talking about. A dog with good manners is a pleasure to live with and to be around. Training your dog to behave in a socially acceptable way is fun. Your family and guests will thank you, and you will be proud of your pet. Wouldn't it be nice to have a dog who stops barking when you ask him to, who doesn't jump up on people, who doesn't pull you down the street and who will give you even his most prized possessions without a grumble? It's all up to you...

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Lucky Labs/ Melissa Laro
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